'Bill' dance performance.
(photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
The last thing you want to do when you go to the theater is think about
everything other than what is transpiring on stage. Too often, however, the
audience sitting in their cushy seats are not participating in the event, only
tolerating it. What a crowd wants and what the performing artists aspire to is a
unified front, a group journey that includes both active and passive
Having recently celebrated another tour de force premiere,
choreographer Sharon Eyal can rest assured that her pieces produce that kind of
atmosphere. House, which shared an evening with The Toxic Exotic Disappearing
Act by Yasmeen Godder, wowed audiences with its enigmatic appeal. Next week,
just moments after unveiling her new masterpiece, the Batsheva Dance Company
will present a run of Eyal’s evening-length work Bill at the Suzanne Dellal
There is a clear through-line between these two pieces. For one,
Eyal’s razorsharp aesthetic is in place in both pieces. Over the past several
years, with the rise of her popularity as house choreographer for Batsheva and
freelance dance maker, Eyal has honed her tastes in a way few of her
contemporaries have. Her pieces are distinguishably hers from the moment the
A sort of purist, Eyal’s costume choices always accentuate
the body. Be it the clean white trunks and T-shirts of Marakova Kabisa or the
evocative threads of Bertolina, Eyal provides a clear picture of her dancers’
bodies. In both Bill and House, Eyal opted to go simple. Her dancers wear tan
body suits, creating a sense of nudity on the scene.
Though in House,
upon close inspection, each dancer’s attire was outfitted with certain
accessories; the overall visual was that of sameness.
In Bill, she took
this concept to the extreme.
Beyond their identical costumes, the dancers
also wear ice blue contact lenses. Their hair is slicked back and matted in tan
paint, evoking a Harrison Bergeron (Kurt Vonnegut) vision of group unity. And
though all their physical differences are blurred by their uniformity, each
dancer’s nature emerges through the nuances of their movement. In this way, Eyal
explains, her performers can show their true selves. By uniting them visually,
she engineers both the sense of commonality and the individual rebelling against
Also connecting all Eyal’s pieces is the boom, boom boom soundtrack.
In all her works, from start to finish, the high-volume music plays in an
ongoing rhythm. Eyal’s longtime collaborator Ori Lichtik’s dizzying blends of
electro beats and soothing melodies make for trance-inducing
Lichtik’s score also links one section to the next
For Bill, which premiered in 2010, Eyal uses all 21 dancers
of the Batsheva Company. At times, the audience is offered an intimate glimpse
of one or two dancers. Seconds later, the group overtakes the stage in
undulating flight patterns. Lighting by Avi Yona Bueno accentuates these dynamic
Eyal was also certain to include more than a pinch of
humor in Bill. The dancers scream, laugh and smile at their spectators. Combined
with the ultra-blue lighting, these moments are as spooky as they are humorous.
The atmosphere is at once light and tense, sexual and pedestrian and thoroughly
The glue holding all these stylized elements together is the
deft movement language created by Eyal. Having danced for the company for many
years, she is familiar with the strengths of her troupe and is nearly unmatched
(perhaps only by artistic director Ohad Naharin) in her ability to show off what
her dancers are capable of.
With its genuinely innovative look and feel,
Bill is a not-to-be-missed dance experience.Bill will run at the Suzanne
Dellal Center on February 8, 9, 10 and 11. For tickets, visit www.batsheva.co.il
or call (03) 517-1471.
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